Property Address: 1832 W Fairmount Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21223
Property Owner: Carl Hunter, same address
City Council District and Contact: District 9, “Pistol” Pete Welch
State Senator: Verna Jones Rodwell
In 2011, Bloom Development, LLC filed to foreclose on this home — the court granted the foreclosure. However, in 2012, the court vacated the judgement, and ownership was returned to Mr. Hunter.
Note: This property owners are the defendants in a lead paint lawsuit. See Circuit Court case number 24C12001969 for more information.
Property Address: 1826 W Fairmount Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21223
Property Owner: Kevin and Gregory L Brown, 4305 Norfolk Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216
City Council District and Contact: District 9, “Pistol” Pete Welch
State Senator: Verna Jones Rodwell
From the Maryland Department of the Environment:
MDE’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program serves as the coordinating agency for statewide efforts to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. Under the 1994 “Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Act,” MDE assures compliance with mandatory requirements for lead risk reduction in rental units built before 1950, maintains a statewide listing of registered and inspected units and provides blood lead surveillance through a registry of test results of all children tested in Maryland. Alleged violations typically involve a failure to register properties or meet lead risk reduction standards. The following actions were for properties alleged to be out of compliance with lead risk reduction standards:
- Sindix, LLC and Multiverse Management Services, LLC – 21 affected properties – On January 17, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $25,000 for alleged violations.
- Monopoly Corporation and Dunne Wright Services, LLC – 4 affected properties – On January 28, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $15,000 for alleged violations.
- Joann Bolden, Lott Bolden, Harry Bolden Jr. and Denise Bolden-Coley – 1 affected property – On February 4, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law seeking $21,500 for alleged violations.
- Abdalatti Elghannam, Gul Sher and East to West Enterprises, Inc. – 1 affected property – On February 13, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $22,000 for alleged violations.
- Bryon Fullerton and Pamela Fullerton – 2 affected properties – On February 4, 2013, MDE entered into a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order to resolve violations of Maryland’s lead law. The defendants agreed to a penalty of $10,500.
- Larry Thomas and Nicole Jordan – 2 affected properties – On February 15, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $27,500 for alleged violations.
- Suresh Hatte and Muktayi Hatte – 2 affected properties – On February 15, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $33,000 for alleged violations.
- Leonard Harris – 3 affected properties – On February 22, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $27,500 for alleged violation.
- Antonio Kornegay – 3 affected properties – On February 27, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $22,000 for alleged violations.
- Mount Street Holding, LLC – 2 affected properties – On February 27, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $19,000 for alleged violations.
- Solayide Akinlosotu – 2 affected properties – On February 27, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $23,000 for alleged violations.
- Real Estate Management and Acquisitions, LLC – 5 affected properties – On February 27, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $16,500 for alleged violations.
- Freed Nassor Hayatt – 9 affected properties – On February 27, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $44,000 for alleged violations.
- Carlo J. McDuffie and Thomasine E. McDuffie – 5 affected properties – On February 27, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $35,000 for alleged violations.
- Cesare Vaughan – 4 affected properties – On March 7, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $22,000 for alleged violations.
- Stephen Hill – 1 affected property – On March 15, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint, Order and Penalty requiring compliance with Maryland’s lead law and seeking $7,750 for alleged violations.
Changes coming for BCFD firefighters — the mayor’s budget calls for longer hours, and a loss of 100 to 300 positions due to attrition (depending on which media source you read, the number changes). This equates to longer hours for what amounts to less pay. Unfair and unwarranted, how about giving other city employees the same rotten deal, not just the ones who are charged with saving lives?
A sad commentary on public housing in Baltimore.
More suspected arson fires in Detroit, firefighters “pushed to the limits”.
The fight over the city’s new casino project continues.
The Atlantic Cities examines why skyrocketing rents are actually bad for the economy.
A Maryland attorney was indicted on nine counts of wire fraud, stemming from his real estate investment scheme, according to the FBI.
Speaking of fraud, Stewart Sachs, a slumlord we’ve written about several times, has now been charged with money laundering — specifically, a drug dealer’s loan payments. And they say slumlords don’t commit other crimes…
A bit of drama over at the Annapolis Housing Authority — they’re not sure whether Carl Snowden, a former city alderman, will be allowed to remain chairman of the Housing Authority’s board after he’s released from jail.
The Baltimore Brew asks whether we should house the homeless in the city’s many vacants — what do you think?
While the comments flew after this story in the Brew about liquor stores, Pennsylvania was busy working to end its stranglehold on liquor sales, while in Baltimore…we want the government to have even more control.
Good news-bad news in Cleveland: The number of vacant homes has increased, despite a decrease in foreclosures.
Milwaukee has decided to use a new strategy to beautify its vacant buildings: artistic boardups.
Good news for Detroit, too: Lead poisoning in children has dropped 70 percent, though you have to wonder — have property owners gotten better, or have more people simply left…so there are less children living in lead paint-filled homes?
There are several bills before the Maryland Legislature that would substantially weaken protection for children who have been exposed to lead paint, and offer loopholes for negligent property owners who ignore the law — please lend your voice to the many who oppose these bills!
Every year in Maryland there are 3200 children poisoned by lead, the overwhelming majority are poisoned right in their own homes. You can help to put a stop to this, and ensure that every child in our state has a healthy start!
Action you can take:
- Attend a hearing in Annapolis on Friday, February 22, at 1PM, House Environmental Matters (Room 250), Lowe House Office Building, Annapolis, MD.
- Contact the members of the House Environmental Matters Committee, especially if one of the members is your delegate, and let them know you oppose the following bills.
- Call, email, or write to your delegate and let him or her know you’re watching, and you expect Maryland’s children to be their priority. Children, especially children faced with adversity, typically do not have the tools to advocate for themselves — we need to be their advocates, and ensure they have the safe and healthy housing most of us take for granted.
If you don’t know who your delegates are, please click here and enter your address.
HB754 will bring back the Qualified Offer that was struck down by Court of Special Appeals. It allows property owners of rental units to:
- Require that new tenants get their child blood lead tested for any child that spends more than 24 hours a week in that property;
- Receive a copy of a blood lead test for any new persons at risk occupying the property;
- Receive evidence of residence history;
- Limits a person from brining an action for lead poisoning unless the elevated blood lead level is above 15, 20, or 25 µg/dl;
- Prevent a person from bringing suit for lead poisoning, unless a Qualified Offer has been made, should the property owner be in compliance with the law;
- Make an Qualified Offer of only up to $100,000 in benefits for a lifetime of damages; including medical and educational expenses that are NOT already provided by the medical insurance or the public school system;
- Provide only $11,000 for each IQ point that a child loses as a result of being poisoned;
- Limit economic and noneconomic damages to $100,000.
The Coalition believes that this Bill fails to adequately address the constitutional issues expressed in the Dackman v. Jackson decision striking down the Qualified Offer. It puts a price tag on the value of a child and creates a legal precedent that is in violation of current medical privacy laws. Additionally, there is no requirement that landlords prove or have adequate resources to cover a Qualified Offer. In effect a family can be prevented from filing suit simply because a landlord does not have the assets to make a Qualified Offer.
HB924 REMOVES properties built from 1950-1978 from the classification of “affected property”. This Bill will also remove the requirement to dust-test properties built from 1950-1978 to be registered, yearly, in order to be in compliance with the current Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing laws.
The Coalition STRONGLY OPPOSES this Bill as it undoes what was fought so hard for in the 2012 legislative session, the inclusion of properties built from 1950-1978 in the category of “affected property”. Children are at an 80% greater risk of being poisoned in houses built from 1950-1960. There are 18% more children poisoned in houses built from 1950-1978. The Coalition also OPPOSES this Bill as the bill incorporating houses built from 1950-1978 has yet to go into effect.
These specific houses are not scheduled to be incorporated into existing law until 2015. There is no data yet on the positive impact the inclusion of 1950-1978 properties have on the reduction of childhood lead poisoning and we should not be removing them from the law until we know how great an advancement we can make. In conjunction with HB754 passing, HB 924 would allow rental property owners of properties built from 1950-1978 to make Qualified Offers to their tenants, without requiring any form of risk reduction.
HB1299 will allow rental property owners to ONLY preform risk reduction dust inspections every FIVE years if there have been windows installed on the property after 1978, there is a pregnant woman or child that will occupy the property and/or there is notification given that a pregnant woman is occupying the property.
The Coalition feels that this Bill does nothing to protect families. There is no requirement in the Bill that the windows be lead free or that there be any work done to the exterior (window sills, wells, frame) to remove or abate existing lead hazards. Thus, families are still at risk from the number 1 cause of lead poisoning in home, old wooden windows. Under this Bill, rental property owners would be required to test less often with greater risk to the family.
HB923 will require the court to dismiss a lead paint tort claim filed in Circuit Court or a United States District Court for injury caused by the ingestion of lead-based paint or lead-contaminated dust if the claimant does not file a certificate of a qualified expert for each defendant specifying the contents of the certificate and stating when, where and how the claimant was poisoned.
The Coalition feels that this Bill should be reassigned to the Judiciary Committee as it involves significant changes to the tort system in Maryland. This Bill is not an issue for Environmental Matters. However, if reassigned The Coalition opposes the Bill as it puts an unnecessary burden on the claimant to prove their case before trial. We also feel that the current Qualified Expert law is Maryland is sufficient and this change is not necessary and singles out lead paint victims and claimants.
The property owners have their lobbyists and advocates — please contact your delegates today, and be an advocate for Maryland’s children!
A recap of all the newsworthy links in 2012.
Early in 2012, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was grilled by the MD Legislature about the status of the city’s lead paint judgements. The city was refusing to pay, saying the judgement would bankrupt the city — a shame they didn’t think about that before allowing children to live in lead paint-filled homes.
A Federal judge sided with the City of Chicago in its fight to hold banks accountable for maintaining and securing vacant homes.
Business Insider had this to say about Baltimore’s neighborhoods — apparently some are just not worth saving. Is your neighborhood worth more to you than it is to your elected officials?
Maryland property managers got their knickers in a bunch over being asked to pay what amounts to $4 a month for lead paint insurance. Still seems cheaper than a multimillion dollar lawsuit.
Lots of articles have been written about squatters and takeovers of foreclosed and abandoned homes. This one from the Chicago Tribune, wrtten in March, is particularly good.
Also in March, WBAL suggested development along Baltimore’s waterfront could suffer due to a loss of tax breaks for developers. What were they thinking??
In Chicago, a young girl was raped at gunpoint between two vacant homes in the West Englewood neighborhood. Neighbors say the vacants are more than just a threat to property values.
Instead of paying lead paint lawsuit judgments, the city’s Housing Authority was paying for take-home cars for its employees, according to WBAL’s Jayne Miller.
Metro Dream Homes owner and founder Andrew Hamilton Williams, Jr. was sentenced for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme that cost numerous people their homes, and bilked them out of $78 million.
Philadelphia rejoiced upon hearing that Robert Coyle, the “Millionaire Slumlord” was charged with defrauding banks of $10 million.
I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten in the past year from people who have major problems with their “rehabbed” homes, due to the fact that the “contractors” never bothered to get permits. Here’s a story from the Baltimore Sun about one such homeowner (he’s also my neighbor, and a stand-up guy.)
Another article on rehabs without permits appeared in the Baltimore Sun in April. This time, the owner was threatened with jail time. I guess since it happened in Canton, the city decided to get tough.
The Detroit Free Press did an excellent series on keeping schoolchildren safe on their route to school — something most people take for granted. Unfortunately, in some major cities — kids have an unsafe walk, passing vacant homes that are a magnet for criminal activity.
Travers and Tremayne Johnson, two brothers who were accused of setting a dog on fire, were found not guilty by a Baltimore jury.
BCFD wasn’t meeting NFPA standards for response times, according to an article by Baltimore Brew — yet the mayor and Chief Clack continued with their plans to close three Baltimore fire companies.
Detroit experienced a rash of arsons back in April — 16 fires in all, on the city’s east side.
According to a Baltimore Sun article, Builders of Hope, a North Carolina-based nonprofit chosen by Ray Lewis, was supposed to be renovating hundreds of homes in Baltimore City, near Johns Hopkins University in East Baltimore. Since then, we’ve heard nothing about the project — or the organization, except news of their ongoing dispute with the City of New Orleans and two contractors, allegedly for nonpayment of invoices.
April and May brought the mayor’s proposed cuts to the fire department — including the removal of truck and engine companies that serve our city’s poorest neighborhoods. Thankfully, one truck company was spared the axe. Two were not so lucky.
Speaking of the fire department, May saw quite a few arson fires — including more than 12 in Youngstown, OH.
Firefighters in Huntington, WV let a vacant home burn after being called to the same address multiple times.
And a fire in the 1100 block of Barclay Street in Baltimore may have been arson, according to this Baltimore Sun article.
And in the “It’s not just you, Baltimore” category: In June, DC City Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown was charged with mortgage fraud.
In July, the head of Baltimore’s housing authority continued to justify the agency’s refusal to pay court-ordered lead paint judgements. While Paul Graziano was busy refusing to pay these judgements, a DC man was scamming the Housing Authority of almost $1.4 million.
American Banker discussed the pros and cons of using eminent domain as a way for municipalities to get vacant homes out of the hands of banks.
Two big storms hit Baltimore City, and the mayor and fire chief still wanted to cut our fire companies. This didn’t sit will with the two IAFF Local presidents.
BCFD Chief Jim Clack received a hostile reception from IAFF members at July’s Firehouse Expo.
Habitat for Humanity and the Home Depot Foundation expanded a home renovation program for veterans.
WBAL asked if Baltimore City would pay for residents’ flooded basements, or will these residents once again get stuck with the city’s tab?
After being called to aid an injured man, a Baltimore City EMT and the patient fell through a hole in the front porch of a vacant home, into the basement.
Also in August, the Hip Hop Chicken on Hillen Road, a place where some swear you could get the best chicken ever — caught fire.
A fair housing case that dates back to 1995 was finally settled, giving some Baltimore families the right to move into safer housing.
Lots of housing-related crime happened in September. Kenneth Koehler of Baltimore pleaded guilty to wire fraud, in a scheme that left mortgage lenders holding the bag for over $1 million in debt. Six Upper Fells Point homes went into foreclosure as a result of this scam.
Lorain, Ohio used an interesting method to move vacant homes to demolition — search warrants.
Los Angeles City attorney called US Bank and Deutsche Bank “slumlords”, accused the banks of neglecting foreclosed properties.
Detroit Crime Commission tackled crime by going after large-scale slumlords, vacants, and arson.
An Ellicott City woman pleaded guilty to stealing $1.5 million in a mortgage fraud scheme.
Also in September, a series of arson fires did some major widespread damage to Detroit’s east side.
I was in Baltimore Magazine in October. Spending four days or more with a journalist is like therapy (only cheaper and more fun). I highly recommend it. I also did a Q&A with Technically Baltimore — they appeal to my data nerd side, and who doesn’t like talking about data?
Edward Ericson, Jr. from the Baltimore City Paper wrote about the debacle with the Prisoner’s Aid Association-owned properties that have been condemned, foreclosed on, or are in foreclosure. It’s definitely worth reading both articles: First Article Second Article.
The Baltimore Sun reported that former District 2 councilman Nick D’Adamo was given a cushy job as a “Special Assistant” to BCFD Chief James Clack. Hey…wasn’t Squad 11 in D’Adamo’s former district?
Speaking of dumb moves by government — Wayne County, MI (yeah that’s Detroit) is apparently got rid of its ability to investigate and prosecute arson cases. In Detroit. A city with probably more arson than any other city in the world.
Just as BCFD Chief Clack finished crowing about his impressive fire statistics in front of the City Council — five people, a grandmother and four children, were killed in a house fire. As much as people like to bandy about impressive stats and data — actions still speak louder than words.
ProPublica published their “Living Apart” series in November. The series is about fair housing in the US, and how things went terribly wrong, despite the best intentions of lawmakers on both sides of the fence. You can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.
Baltimore City demolished a block of vacants in West Baltimore — I hope it turns into something that benefits residents. You can see how the block looked before demolition here.
Baltimore Brew was quick to report on the community impact grant money our city gave the casino developers — money that was earmarked for poor communities like Pigtown, Sharp-Leadenhall, and Westport.
In Milwaukee, WI, foreclosed and abandoned homes continued to be a problem — yet Wisconsin’s governor Scott Walker used settlement money received from a federal mortgage abuse lawsuit to balance the budget.
Want to buy that vacant foreclosure next door before it becomes a neighborhood nuisance? That may be harder than you think.
Louisville, KY created a registry of vacant homes, and a plan for what to do when owners don’t maintain them.
Foreclosed home caretakers sued a Bank of America affiliate in California, claiming the company cheated them out of overtime and wages.
As you can imagine, folks in Cleveland are tired of slumlords, too. And they had some words for an absentee slumlord who lives in Florida.
In New York, an attorney was convicted on multiple counts of mortgage fraud, but the NY Attorney General lost a few counts, despite testimony from the attorney’s employees.
An office building in downtown Baltimore will be converted to apartments — however, it looks like no affordable units are planned.
ABC2 News reports that an Owings Mills Man will be spending the next 25 years in prison for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme.
Even more apartments coming to downtown Baltimore, according to Steve Kilar at the Baltimore Sun. It’s unclear whether any of the buildings will include workforce housing.
A rather bizarre interview with the CEO of Wells Fargo about the economy, mortgage fraud, and board conflicts.
DSNews and CoreLogic report that mortgage fraud is on the rise again, with increased short sale fraud expected.
Howard Park is still waiting for their ShopRite Supermarket — what’s the holdup?
Interesting to see that Johns Hopkins is pledging millions of dollars to fix up the neighborhoods surrounding its Homewood campus — what about all of the lead paint-filled blighted homes owned by the Bloomberg School of Public Health near Johns Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore?
Speaking of mortgage fraud, three people were indicted for their role in a fraud scheme that concentrated around houses in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood.
PG County has seen its fair share of mortgage fraud, too.
Brighter days ahead for one Detroit neighborhood — thanks to the residents who live there.
While steel shutters might be great for keeping vagrants out of vacants, they pose a challenge to firefighters and might result in greater property loss, according to Chicago Fire Department Chief of Special Operations Michael Fox.
TODAY, December 31, is the last day you can file your Maryland Homestead Tax Credit application. If your application is not postmarked by today, you will not receive the credit — file now!
Maryland home values fell 7% in 2012, according to this article in the Baltimore Sun.
From the Maryland Department of the Environment:
MDE’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program serves as the coordinating agency of statewide efforts to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. Under the 1994 “Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Act,” MDE assures compliance with mandatory requirements for lead risk reduction in rental units built before 1950, maintains a statewide listing of registered and inspected units and provides blood lead surveillance through a registry of test results of all children tested in Maryland. Alleged violations typically involve a failure to register properties or meet lead risk reduction standards. The following actions were for properties alleged to be out of compliance with lead risk reduction standards:
- Joseph Beran Sr. – 2 affected properties, $30,000 for alleged violations.
- Jeffrey Smith and Christine Smith – 1 affected property, $16,500 for alleged violations.
- Donna Sekora and Heather Sekora – 11 affected properties, $31,500 for alleged violations.
- William Chaiffre and Norma Chaiffre – 3 affected properties, $15,000 for alleged violations.
- Roy K. Potter – 4 affected properties, $27,500 for alleged violations.
- Peter S. Lee and Grace Lee – 5 affected properties, $16,500 for alleged violations.
- 2114 Lake, LLC – 2 affected properties, $15,000 for alleged violations.
- Christopher E. Hart – 2 affected properties, $15,750 for alleged violations.
- Byron G. Fullerton and Pamela E. Fullerton – 3 affected properties, $70,000 for alleged violations.